Herbs and medicinal plants are perhaps the richest and most potent source of medical treatment that humans have. In virtually every ancient culture, herbs were used in daily life as primary sources of remedy for sickness and disease. Modern herbalists are not only discovering the healing power of plants, but also the important role they play in our health. They are now being recognized for their ability to treat everything from cancer to migraine headaches. Herb gardening is not just a great hobby but also an excellent method of self-education.
Before you can begin to enjoy the many benefits of your herb garden, you’ll need to find a good, reliable source of information on medicinal plants and herbs. There are several ways you can do this, but the best method is to invest in a quality or ethnobotanical guide. These guides offer detailed information about all of the major types of herbs, the healing properties they have and the growing conditions they thrive in. For example, some of the more common herbs used for cooking oils include basil, oregano, Rosemary, sage and thyme. A good guide will include a list of those types of herbs along with a brief description, including (if applicable) details on where to grow them, what kinds of climates and soil conditions they enjoy, the harvest time and other useful facts.
The benefits of growing a variety of medicinal plants and herbs is enormous. For example, you can have almost any variety of chives, basil, dill, fennel, marjoram, Rosemary or sage in your herb garden. Depending on how much sun or shade your particular plant gets each day, you’ll be able to determine when they’re in bloom. If you have an abundance of one type of herb, you may even be able to plant and harvest a second variety next year. With a little bit of planning and research, you can plant a thriving herb garden that provides color, pleasure and essential herbal medicine to you and your family.
Many people also appreciate the fact that growing your own medicinal plants and herbs offers a sense of control over the quality of the final product. Unlike the vast majority of grocery store-bought products, herbs and plants are grown and harvested by their own natural instincts. Some are hardy, some prefer shade and some prefer full sunlight. Knowing what plants to plant will give you a deeper knowledge of how to grow and harvest your herbs. Plus, you’ll know which varieties of plants are suitable for your climate.
The first step to planning your herb garden is determining which medicinal plants and herbs you want to start with. If you’ve never grown a garden before, this can be a daunting task. Luckily, with the help of an instructional book like Botany: An Integrative Approach to Vegetable Botany you’ll have everything you need to get started. Botany by Lori Rose (Spectrum Press) gives you everything you need to know about preparing for a garden, the types of herbs you want to grow and more. This second ed version of the book is the best resource available for beginning gardeners because it includes a wealth of information not only on developing a beautiful garden, but on understanding the chemistry of herbs as well as the growth habits of certain plants.
Botany: An Integrative Approach to Vegetable Botany also includes bibliographies and index tables for easy reference. Each chapter of the book has a separate bibliography containing publications in PDF format with complete bibliographies and index. The second ed version of this book even includes a new chapter addressing chemical constituents of medicinal plants. This new chapter focuses on “chemistry and medicinal value” as opposed to a trait or use. It explains how different chemical constituents affect the development of the plant and how these constituents vary according to botanical species.
The University of California Press has a very comprehensive online store with hundreds of resources, many of which are related to herbal medicine. Medical Plants and Herbs: A Comprehensive Guide (Springer Martin Health & Life sciences) provide extensive information on medicinal plants and herbs from the perspectives of science and economics. This book includes a detailed bibliography, a list of the scientific articles that have been published regarding the topics, and an index. Medical Plants and Herbs: An Integrative Approach to Vegetable Botany (Springer Martin Health & Life sciences) provides extensive information on medicinal plants and herbs from the perspectives of science and economics. This book includes an index.
A Review of Economic Botany: An Integrative Approach to Vegetable Botany (eds. M. S. Taylor, R. Gurian, J. W. Berry, E. S. Burris, and S. L. Poindexter) by S. L. Poindexter and C. R. Poindexter (eds), discusses the economic botany of herbs and plants. It compares the economic advantages of culinary herbs with those of medicinal herbs. Economic Botany is used as a textbook for botany courses in colleges and universities. Economic Botany: An Integrative Approach to Vegetable Botany (eds) by S. L. Poindexter and C. R. Poindexter (eds), provides an integrated view of culinary herbs, medicinal herbs, and economic herbs. This book is also available from the publishers as an e-guide, a complementary addition to the popular textbook, Economic Botany.